Many relief efforts are underway in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan cut across the eastern and central island regions on Nov. 8.
Filipino students at Langara are devastated over the event and saddened with thoughts of all the families struggling for survival. Unfortunately, Langara does not have a program set up to facilitate donations.
Tacloban, a city of about 220,000 people on Leyte Island, experienced the full force of the storm – winds ripped apart houses as torrential rains flooded the streets.
Most of the city has been left in ruins, a tangled mess of destroyed houses, cars and trees.
Malls and shops have been stripped of food and water by hungry residents starved of proper nourishment.
“It’s quite saddening,” said Aaron Gacad, a Filipino history student at Langara. “I’m relieved my family was up north, so they survived, but sad to hear about the others.”
There are many relief agencies partnering with the Philippine aid work, but a number of students interviewed are worried that the money is not going into the right hands.
Sherri Mallonga, a Filipino nursing student at Langara, has donated money through the United Nations fund. “[The money] being collected by government-run charities is going to greedy politicians [in the Philippines] and not to people who actually need it.”
“The government needs to be more transparent,” said Mallonga. “They are not owning up to their responsibilities but rather pointing fingers than helping.”
Langara geography instructor Drew Egan agrees there wasn’t enough support from the Philippine government.
“[Relief efforts] were slow to start with,” said Egan. “Kids are now going to grow up with no grandparents.”
Climate in the Philippines
Filipinos are accustomed to a harsh typhoon season, but Typhoon Haiyan hit with a force and severity beyond normal.
The storms tend to originate in the region of the Marianas and Caroline Islands of the Pacific Ocean, near Mindanao Island.
“The typhoon is a result of climate change,” said Egan. “The magnitude and frequency of them is growing.”
What’s being done and how you can donate
“The government has to have the needs of the Philippines in mind,” said Mallonga.
Canada’s contribution is growing. About $20-million has been donated by Canadians so far, and the government is matching that by approximately $20-million more.
Charities like Unicef Canada, Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and The Salvation Army are accepting donations. Mallonga recommends students research before they donate.
If students are finding it hard to find the time to donate with an exam packed schedule, a simple text can make a difference. To donate to The Red Cross text: REDCROSS to 30333 to donate $5. The UN World Food Programme has a text-to-donate program as well; text RELIEFNOW to 45678 to give a $10 donation.
Listen below to Langara’s geography instructor Drew Egan explain how the typhoon was possibly formed in the Philippines:
Reported by Puneet Dhami and Marie-Andree Del Cid